Friday, 8 January 2016

The Cross Country Skiing is excellent at Mount Washington, Vancouver Island

by Keith and Heather Nicol
Raven Lodge is a great facility
        The winter of 2015-16 is shaping up to be a good one for Mount Washington. The season started before Christmas and the good weather from late December has been continuing so far in January. We have been cross country skiing on both the 5th and 7th of January and the whole trail system is open. That means over 50 km of x-c ski trails and 18 km of snowshoe trails are ready for action. On Thursday, January 7 there was a interesting mist hanging in the low lying area in Paradise Meadows which made for eerie photos of the sun streaming through the light fog. The skating lanes were fast and well groomed and we appreciated the excellent classic tracks. Many people told us this was the best day of the season and we had to agree that the skiing conditions were superb. 
The x-c skiing is perfect at the present time
And we love Raven Lodge which provides excellent views of the surrounding mountains. Raven Lodge is a full service facility where you can rent gear, register for a lesson, have a meal, relax in front of the fire and even have a sauna! So if you have been thinking of getting out cross country skiing or snowshoeing-don’t delay since the conditions right now can’t be beat. For more information see:
The sun was streaming through the mist
The skating is fast and the trails well groomed!

Friday, 1 January 2016

Near perfect cross country ski conditions at Cypress Mountain near Vancouver

by Keith and Heather Nicol
    Vancouver is fortunate to have 3 alpine ski areas on its doorstep- Cypress Mountain, Grouse Mountain and Mt Seymour. But it only has one place to cross country ski and that is at Cypress Mountain so we headed there on Thursday, December 31 to check it out. We were joined by our daughter Kristie and her boyfriend Eric who is just learning to cross country ski.  This season has seen lots of snow in the local mountains and already Cypress was reporting more than 3 meters of snow on the ground. The forecast was calling for sunny skies with temperatures around – 5 C so we couldn`t have asked for better conditions. We knew that Cypress Bowl was also popular for tubing and snowshoeing so we wanted to be there by around 9:00 am when they opened. Even with this early start, there was a 10 minute lineup to buy tickets and the ticket agent said it would only get busier as the day progressed. As Mike Thomas, the Nordic area manager told us “The 2010 Olympics really put us on the map. Since then interest in snow related activities has just exploded”. 
Kristie striding past snow laden trees
   Cypress Nordic has 19 km of cross country ski trails groomed for both classic and skating as well as 10 km of snowshoe trails.  The ski trails are very wide and the popular lower trails are relatively flat.  As you gain elevation the trails ascend and descend more quickly and the skiing is more challenging.  On Thursday we skied most of the lower trails and also skied the Unknown Lake loop which is higher up on the mountain. We had lunch at a warmup cabin and it was so pleasant in the sun that we ate outside. How many places can you do that in Canada in December?  If you are visiting Vancouver and want to cross country ski you couldn’t do any better than visiting Cypress Mountain. They offer a wide range of activities from alpine and cross country skiing to tubing and snowshoeing. With good weather in the forecast be sure to take advantage of the great skiing out there. For more information see:  

The wide trails are groomed for skating and striding

We ate lunch in front of the upper warm up hut